Is Law Firm Lead Generation Worth it as Opposed to Other Forms of Marketing?
Like all types of vendors, some law firm lead generation companies are good and some are bad. There are some reputable lead generation companies, and there are some that are not worth the money, offering low-cost and low quality leads. Other companies may exercise questionable ethics in way they gather leads. That can backfire on your firm, since law firms are held to strict advertising regulations.
Last August, the ABA House of Delegates addressed the issue of lead generations with revisions to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Here’s what the ABA Now blog had to say about those rules changes:
A comment to Rule 7.2 says lawyers may pay for “lead generation” services, including Internet-based client leads, as long as certain safeguards are followed. According to the comment, the lead generator should not vouch for the lawyer’s credentials or abilities, nor should it create the impression that it is making the referral without payment, or has determined the appropriate lawyer based on an analysis of the possible client’s legal problems. A report to the House of Delegates says the change is intended to address new marketing methods such as those provided by Legal Match, Total Attorneys, Groupon, and Martindale-Hubbell’s Lawyers.com.
So before deciding to purchase leads, be sure to ask the right questions. How does the company generate their leads? Confirm that they are complying with all Bar ethics rules. Once that ethics hurdle is cleared, ask these questions: Are leads exclusively distributed or sent out to multiple firms? What is the average cost per case? (In other words, how many leads will you have to receive in order to sign a case?) Also, check multiple references and ask whether clients are receiving a strong return on their investment.
Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) can be a good alternative to purchased leads. Because you can put several filters in place, your leads will have a greater chance of consistently being of higher quality and more focused towards your perfect client. PPC and lead generation share one downside: once you stop paying, they immediately lose their value as marketing tools.
For attorneys who purchase leads, having a website can help to educate potential clients and give them a sense of confidence in your firm. Websites are an investment with more longevity than lead generation. Investing in your own website is a key factor not only for lead generation but for attorney referrals, client education, etc. Over time, the value of your website is multiplied, especially when quality search engine optimization practices are followed.